I apologize for the length between published chapters, I'll try and get on it better than I have been. After all this stuff is for you guys to enjoy. Anyways, I do not own anything and such. Hope you enjoy this exciting episode!
It had been three months after we started our classes and assimilated ourselves into Mushroomer society. Though it wasn't until I had actually stared into the mirror that I truly noticed the damage. I had to trade my shell for a button up collared shirt. I looked tired, very tired. The Ludwig prince of the koopas was starting to disappear. I knew this was going to happen, I told myself to prepare for it. If I was to win the prize I had to forget tradition, forget everything I knew. But that morning made me realize just how much easier said it was than done.
The best thing to do, was to not think of it at all, just dive back into routine. That seemed the only thing I could do. Keep it up for the next few years and I would do it, I would be king. However, I forgot one , actually many big things, I still had to do.
Toadsworth called us all together after class that day. He felt that we had been at the classes long enough to learn about phase two of our test.
"Is anyone familiar with the T.T.T?" Toadsworth asked the group.
We all looked at each other and shrugged.
"No one?" Toadsworth said. "Fine, then I shall explain. The T.T.T. Are the ten trials."
"Excuse me Sir?" Morton's hand shot up. "How are there ten trials when there are only three letters?"
"Morton, the T.T.T. Stands for 'the ten trials.'" Toadsworth said with a sigh. The group snickered a little at Morton, his pale white face turned a slight crimson."Your classes are going smoothly, and it seems that even though you are koopas, you aren't neanderthals. I was waiting until the end of your course until I revealed to you phase two, but I may as well now."
I could barely mask my anxiety. I had studied Mushroom Kingdom history for a year, how had I not stumbled upon The Ten Trials? It seemed they were pulling this one out of their ass. Though it reminded me of Earth's history, a bit of a guilty pleasure of mineI will admit. Their strange mythology told of a man named Heracles who had to perform a bunch of nigh impossible tasks for whatever reason. Perhaps Toadsworth was an Earth history buff as well.
"Here's how this is going to work, The Ten Trials will take you all over the kingdom, I have given 9 other people the descriptions of the trials." Toadsworth explained. "I will give you all the first trial you must complete, complete them and you will gain the whereabouts of the other people. You have 4 years to complete all the tasks."
The room grew quiet as we listened intently. So the real challenge was about to begin. Though it was going to take us 4 years to pull this off? I couldn't help but feel a little worried.
"Your first Trial is to perform a heroic deed in the name of the queen and the kingdom."
"Erm, Mr. Toadsworth, just where exactly will we find heroic deeds to be done?" Iggy asked.
"I'll give you a hint, it isn't me you need to be asking that question." Toadsworth replied. "It's been a good few months chaps, but now I can no longer hold your hands. Have at it then."
So that was it? Well who could I ask that has knowledge of heroic deeds? It took a moment, but then I realized. Duh, Queen Toadstool. I made my way down the bustling halls of Castle Toadstool quietly. Hoping that my siblings weren't as clever or following me. At that time of day I was sure she would be in her throne room, not exactly sure what she does in there, but she does hang around there.
I approached the large double doors with the Star insignia carved into the center, I took a deep breath and stepped on through. My guess was correct, there she was staring out the large glass window on the eastern wall of the room. My dialogue was planned out in my head, don't screw this up Ludwig, keep it polite.
"Your Majesty?" I asked, the words like acid on my tongue.
"Yes Ludwig?" She turned to face me, slightly confused by my presence.
"I have been given one of my ten trials, and I must perform a heroic deed for you. Any ideas on what I might be able to do?"
Peach stood there for a moment, I folded my arms and waited patiently. A small look of unease formed in her face. "Ludwig, I'm not sure if I can trust you with this task."
"What do you mean?"
"It's a personal one, and it involves koopas." Peach replied.
Ah so the risk was that I might join my kind again, and screw up the task. Oh how little did she know me, at the time I was willing to do anything to get my crown. Shallow I know, but young ambition knows no bounds.
"Your Majesty, you do realize what's at stake for me if I do fail these tasks right?"
"Yes I'm quite aware, I set the stakes."
"Then please give me the chance to do this, I have nothing to lose anymore."
Peach stared at me, then at the ground. "Fine Ludwig, something has happened to the King. Last night news of his capture reached us, the messenger was a magikoopa."
So something had happened to beloved king Mario? How odd, the very idea that something like my dad could stop him in such a state. The position of King must have gone to his head, must have let his guard down.
"It was typical Bowser scheme, except the ransom was that if I do not return the land to his control, he would kill my husband. I have five days to respond, and I have to show up and pass the treaty."
"How has no one else heard of this?" I asked.
"If anyone were to find out, Mario would be killed."
Dad must have been afraid of many people finding out about the situation. Though he had to have had a sizeable army to take on Mario as well as his personal guard. I bet it wasn't enough to take on the world, and it wasn't like an entire force was very subtle. I had to handle this situation delicately, if I did anything wrong we would lose Mario and I would fail.
"So what's the plan to get him out of there?" I asked.
"I plan on taking my best guards with me when I meet with Bowser, obviously to pass the trial you must come too." Peach replied. "Ludwig, get my Mario back."
"Consider it done your majesty." I said with a small confident smile. Now this was something I was familiar with. Dad's procedures never changed much. The numbers and stakes were much different, the protocol was still probably the same.
I knew dad was going to be personally guarding Mario until Peach got there, Mario may even be with him when they discuss things. If he's not then he'll leave someone tough, maybe even a clone of his. The patrols were probably rag tag rebels, his best men had been disbanded. I wasn't quite sure who ran with him though. Knowing dad there was probably going to be a fort of some sort. If there was anything koopas were good at, it was building things in a pinch. It was going to be heavily guarded on all sides. Getting in would be a pain.
I knew the two best places to start would be the library and the armory. The armory would definitely have something easy for me to carry in, and the library might have an array of magical spells I could use to help get in. This first task would be a piece of cake. Though I had definitely one thing working against me in all of this.
No use denying it, I'm fat, I'm large. Not as big as dad, yet, but still pretty big. Getting in undetected was going to be rough. However I could possibly turn it into an advantage. Somehow.
I turned to head to the library when something worrisome happened. I noticed it barely, just out of the corner of my eye, but it was a flash of blue. Maybe I was being paranoid, but could it be Larry? That sneaky little kid always seemed to find his way around, could he have "stumbled" upon my chat with Peach?
I had to pray it was just my imagination, if Larry made his way to the fort he would easily get in and out. How odd, that my brother had become my biggest threat and enemy in a few seconds. In fact, this was just odd all over. Me working for Mushrooms, what a thought.